The African Union (AU) is set to launch an electronic passport (e-passport) in the next two weeks in part of measures to boost movement of people across the continent.
The e-passport, to be launched during the African Union’s 27th Summit which kicks off in Rwanda from July 10, is part of efforts to boost intra-regional trade.
The AU, however, says member countries will have to adopt and ratify necessary protocols and laws to prepare the way for use of the passport.
Heads of state and government, ministers of foreign affairs and the permanent representatives of AU member states based at the headquarters in Addis Ababa will be the first group to get the e-passports during the summit.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), termed the move a “steady step toward the objective of creating a strong, prosperous and integrated Africa.”
The Rwanda summit will talk about Africa’s integration and the introduction of a common passport.
Countries like the Seychelles, Mauritius, Rwanda, and Ghana have taken the lead in ensuring easier intra-Africa travel by relaxing visa restrictions and in some cases lifting visa requirements altogether.
The East Africa Community in March launched an the document. A phase out programme for the current East African and national passports will go on for two years staring January next year.